It's official: the New England Patriots will not be participating in the playoffs this season. For the first time in the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons. With that being said, and with the season ending in four weeks, what is left to play for this season in New England?
The one major thing to play for is draft position. Currently, the Patriots hold the second overall pick and are in a prime position to take a quarterback who can be the future leader of the franchise. With North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye officially declaring there is a strong chance, the Patriots could select him with the second overall pick.
But how can the Patriots ensure that they keep the second overall pick or even find a way to get the first overall pick?
In simple terms, it's easier for the Patriots to keep the second overall pick by losing out, which is highly possible with their remaining schedule. The Kansas City Chiefs are set to come to Foxboro this weekend before New England travels to Denver to take on the Broncos. After that, the team will travel to Buffalo and attempt to sweep the Bills. Then, the Patriots finish up at home against the New York Jets.
Based on how the Patriots have played this year, the Patriots may lose three out of the four and possibly four depending on what Jets team shows up to Gillette Stadium in the season finale.
Why is it easier to lose out?
Currently, the Carolina Panthers have the worst record in the NFL, sitting at 1-12. With how horrible they have been this season, there's no chance they win another game this year. But the Chicago Bears own this pick because of the DJ Moore trade the teams made before this season.
It's unknown what will happen with the first pick, but unless the Panthers figure it out, it is safe to say the Bears will be on the clock first. But, if the Patriots lose out, they will be holding the second pick, and a rebuild could begin that night.